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Comments and reviews - Flamenco Guitar DVD

Jon Boyes from Plymouth, UK wrote in the forums Flamenco-Teacher and Foro Flamenco

DVD: FLAMENCO GUITAR METHOD VOL. 1 & 2, GERHARD GRAF-MARTINEZ.

 

In 2002 Schott music published a new flamenco guitar method, by Gerhard Graf-Martinez (GM). This Autumn saw the release of two DVDs to accompany his method.

One of the first questions that spring to mind is how the DVDs relate to the two books/CD already published. The answer to that one is straightforward. The DVDs offer a visual illustration of the main techniques and musical examples in the books, and all the music that is featured on the accompanying CD. Notice I said main examples - the books themselves do contain a few other musical examples that are not on the videos, plus the books contain a wealth of other related information e.g. seating positions, nail care, flamenco guitars, history of flamenco, etc.

The two DVDs are intended to give a clearer picture, so to speak, of all the fundamental techniques covered in his books and thus follow the two books quite closely in terms of their content:

Vol. 1

Techniques covered: Basic principles of rasgueado plus AMI, EAMI, AMII, punteado (up and down strokes with I), tresillo (triplet or marote) and AMIP rasgueado combinations; also pulgar technique, ayudado (alternating P with I), golpe with A & M (the latter above the soundhole) and the rumba stroke.

Palos/styles featured: Tangos, Solea, Alegrias, Rumba, Taranto, Garrotin, Fandangos De Huelva, Sevillanas.

The concept of the compas clock is introduced to illustrate the compas of and relationship between the ‘12 beat’ toques.

The rasgueado techniques in Vol.1 are available to view in three ways: normal view (close up), with onscreen score/tablature and, a very innovative touch, from behind the strings looking outward at the fingers. All clips can be viewed at normal or slow speed.

Vol.2

Techniques covered: arpeggio, tremolo, picado, alzapua.
The same styles as Vol.1 are again featured, with the addition of bulerias (inc. bulerias palmas).

GM teaches a contemporary approach to flamenco technique. His primary rasgueado combination is AMI, with each finger flicked off the inside of the thumb to produce a sound that is crisp and well articulated, with clear separation of the individual strokes. His preferred four stroke is AMII, and to produce a continuous rasgueado (in fours) AMII is linked together. This approach is in contrast with the older style taught in some methods (e.g. Juan Martin, Juan Serrano) of simply curling the fingers towards the palm, and producing a continuous rasgueado with an EAMI-EAMI linked roll.

Incidentally, to play a straight EAMI all down stroke rasgueado, GM recommends locking the fingers all the way into the palm, i.e. making a fist, and flicking the fingers off the inside of the palm for added spring. Personally, I find this very awkward and GM seems to rarely use it in his playing, favouring AMII for a four-stroke as already discussed.

The DVDs demonstrate a picado technique that will be familiar to fans of Paco De Lucia, with the stroke being powered almost exclusively from the middle finger joint. Actually, in GM’s case, he favours the stroke coming entirely from that joint, and advocates practising with the large knuckles hyper-extended (bent inwards towards the guitar top) to ensure that the large joint can play no part in the stroke.

Another point of interest is GM’s Alzapua, which he drives from the thumb's base joint at the wrist, as opposed to using a swivel action of the wrist and forearm favoured by players like Paco De Lucia and Tomatito. GM suggests that it is better (safer?) for beginners to develop security by playing all pulgar lines from the base joint first, before attempting to incorporate the whole of the wrist/forearm into the movement.

Apart from the rather more modern approach to technique, there are two distinguishing features about the Graf Martinez Method that set him apart from several other flamenco guitar methods on the market. The first is the contemporary feel of some of the material. For example, there are some nods towards modern day masters like Paco de Lucia and Tomatito in the falsetas, particularly the bulerias, although it has to be said that the material is kept playable!

Secondly, rather than simply publish a collection of long solos, GM presents a series of bite-sized chunks of compas material from the different styles, encouraging the student to combine and arrange as he/she wishes. This compas-focussed approach will appeal to those seeking a more authentic approach to flamenco, though people wishing to learn a few flamenco ‘pieces’ with lots of falsetas may not find it so satisfying. I have to say that whatever your needs, his approach is very effective for learning the compas of the more difficult (12 beat) toques. His presentation of bulerias compas – which wisely gets a whole chapter devoted to it in volume 2 - is excellent.

Most people agree that the best form of instruction is from a good teacher, though in many parts of the world flamenco guitar teachers are hard to come by or simply non-existent. The Graf-Martinez Flamenco Guitar Method must rank as one of the best self-tuition resources on the market and whether you are student or teacher of flamenco guitar, his new DVDs are an excellent companion to this. Recommended.

Extracted from Amazon (USA)

Click here to read customer reviews (amazon) and scroll down.

Erling Brabaek (El Paso,TX)

Gerhard is a great master. I wish I could meet him some day.

Paul Magnussen (Campbell, CA USA)

The benchmark in instructional flamenco videos has hitherto been set by ... The present production certainly matches this, and goes further to include features I have not yet seen elsewhere.

The picture quality is high, and the whole production is extremely professional.

Leticia Onate Perez (East Coast USA)

Good book, well written, and well explained. I am using the practice methods and I am satisfied with my results.

I received and reviewed my DVD's and they are great! Thanks for an Outstanding product,

Freddie Bean (Houston)

Tom Nuñez - La Falseta Classical & Flamenco Guitars, Denton, TX (USA)

I just wanted to tell you that I am having a hard time keeping your flamenco methods in stock. They are so popular that everytime I get a shipment in, they sell out fast! which is very good of course. You have done a fantastic job with these.

Un abrazo muy fuerte,
Tom

Ramin Rad - Flamenco-Teacher.com (USA)

Congratulations on the well-deserved award. Your DVD is my number one best seller. It is very well made.

Thanks to Brian Toron (London) for sending this posting.

Thread Absolute Beginner Method? - Foro Flamenco

I have Oscar H...'s Paso a Paso 1-3 and Graf Martinez 1-2. I also have the DVDs by AAron G.... I also have purchased lessons from Flamenco Teacher and from New Learning Vision (Adam Del ...).

The Oscar DVD's ...

Aaron G... DVDs ...

Graf-Martinez' DVDs are the best in my opinion. He plays with attention to detail and his tunes are fairly interesting. One weakness in my opinion is that his DVDs don't stress where the accents are enough or explain what makes the palo sound the way it does. I would like more counting/feel explanations which include the specific exercise and how it fits into the palo. He does go into great depth on bulerias though adding lots of counting exercises. THe big disadvantage of this method is that DVDs are made for PAL and converted to NTSC. This makes reading the onscreen TABs impossible. There is a TAB viewer that you can DL from his site to see the tabs.

I hope this makes some sense to you and helps. Remember these are my opinions and you may feel differently.

Rod

Send by Terry Austin (TX, USA)

Tema: EL GITARRISTA PERFECTO? - Foro Paco de Lucía

Publicado: Sab Abr 29, 2006 3:18 am Título del mensaje:

En mi humilde y cuestionable opinion para aprender de un guitarrista flamenco debes aprender del mas sencillo, basico y didactico que te encuentres.

Como extranjero te puedo comentar mi experiencia: De nada sirve que aprendas a tocar como el rayo si no entiendes los palos y sus compases. Cuando una bailaora te pide que toques por sevillanas y lanzas la mas rapida y furiosa que te sabes, ella te devuelve a la Tierra con "no te sabes aigo mas sencillo?" o "ney, nomas marcame el compás sale?". El guitarrista a veces tiene que dar un paso atras y dejar que se dé el conjunto.

Merengue de Cordoba tiene un video excelente de ...

Juan Martin y Gerahrd Graf Mart'nez son muy dldactlcos y accesibles para el que es completamente ajeno al Flamenco.

Paco es fabuloso, pero tienes que gatear primero antes de correr si quieres aprender.

benjolin

Jorge Cintron, San Juan, Puerto Rico

I received my flamenco method today. 2 books and 2 DVDs.

I thinks I am the first to order the NTSC version :)

Anyways. I took a quick look at the dvds and the books and must say I am very impressed with them. This is the thrid method I try and is by far the best. Is the best ilustrated, most complete instructional and is very ample in the materials and techniques covered.

The other two were ( I will not mention the names) not on par. One started too advanced and the video did not show the right hand techniques in detail enough to permit learning them. The other method did show the right hand techniques, but the method is too basic and made by an individual who is clearly not as technically advanced as Graf-Martinez.

I congratulate Mr. Graf-Martinez for achieving such a marvelous instructional series.

I have been playing guitar since age 7. Spent 4 years in Sevilla as a child and have a pretty good 3 and 4 finger rasgueado, but was missing the rest of the techniques and the repertoire. For the past 10-15 years I have been playing some classical, latin, caribbean and spanish tuna music, but wanted to reestablish my playing in better form with the boring classical trainig, again. Since flamenco is a part of my childhood and have pretty much liking of it I decided to give it a disciplined try.

Jorge Cintron

Eric Schultheis - Key Of Dreams - Teacher in Portland Community College

Hello Garf Martinez,

My name is Eric Schultheis. I live in the US (Portland Oregon.) Let me start by saying how impressed I am with the quality of your Flamenco Guitar instructional material, wow! Your web site is fantastic. The samples of your DVDs look top notch; from them I see that I'll be able to learn some Flamenco techniques easily. The multiple camera angles, Compas metronome, clear explanations and your obvious passion for Flamenco make it very appealing. You have many talents. You're obviously a great guitarrista and you also have great "new-media" production skills. (I teach Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Digital Performer and DV cinematography at Portland Community College.) Your media is the best I've seen in this field... by far!

Looking forward to learning from someone as talented as you.

Best regards,

Eric Schultheis
Key Of Dreams

I ordered and received the DVD and the books.

I really enjoy the lesson, the way you select the music to teach is very nice, the way you play shows simple (not show off as other videos of other teachers), this makes you a better teacher than just a good player.

The Bulerias lessons sound modern and yet very Flamenco.
Myvan

I received my flamenco method Today. 2 book and 2 dvds. I thinks I am the first to order the NTSC version.

Anyways. I took a quick look at the dvds and the books and must say I am very impressed with them. This is the thrid method I try and is by far the best. Is the best ilustrated, most complete instructional and is very ample in the materials and techniques covered.

The other two were ( I will not mention the names) not on par. One started too advanced and the video did not show the right hand techniques in detail enough to permit learning them. The other method did show the right hand techniques, but the method is too basic and made by an individual who is clearly not as technically advanced as Graf-Martinez.

I congratulate Mr. Graf-Martinez for achieving such a marvelous instructional series.

Jorge Cintron

 

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